"The people who are speaking are very brave to do it because [there are] repercussions to speaking out -- and that's why I said, 'OK, I can't sit back,'" Remini -- who left Scientology in 2013 -- says on Wednesday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
"I was watching high executives, former executives of the Church leaving and speaking out about abuses and things that they've experienced while working for the Church, and I saw how the church reacted. I felt I had a responsibility to say, 'I'm not going to allow you to bully these people who were very brave to come out and tell their stories,'" she continues. "And that's from executives. But there are just average parishioners like me who leave and speak out about what they've experienced, they lose their family. The Church goes after their family to shun their family, oftentimes. I'm very lucky that that didn't happen to me. My family chose me."
When DeGeneres asks if Remini has felt threatened since leaving the religion, she claims that she has "been followed," but says her story "pales in comparison to what happened to other people" and "how people are bullied into silence."
"What I have is I'm an actress, and I'm able to speak, and I'm able to give a voice to people who might not have an Ellen to go on," the King of Queens star explains. "For that, I feel lucky and I feel blessed. That's kind of what my path is right now."
Remini also tells DeGeneres why she thinks many people don't leave Scientology. "The Church does have all your secrets from when you were a child, but that isn't the reason why people don't leave the Church," she says. "People don't leave the Church because they actually believe what they're doing is good. It's very hard for me to attack something that I believed in, and I believed in it wholeheartedly my whole life. It's a difficult position to be in. They believe that they have the answers to life to help mankind."
The Church has previously responded to Remini's past criticisms, including claims made in her book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, saying in a statement to ET, "It comes as no surprise that someone as self-absorbed as Leah Remini with an insatiable craving for attention would exploit her former faith as a publicity stunt by rewriting her history with it, including omitting that she was participating in a program to remain a Scientologist by her own choice, as she was on the verge of being expelled for her ethical lapses."